Egypt PM unveils new cabinet amid protests

The rejig failed to assuage thousands of protestors, who have returned to Cairo`s Tahrir Square.

Cairo: Egypt`s Prime Minister on Monday
carried out a major reshuffle naming 15 new ministers as
pressure mounted from protestors, who are accusing the
country`s military council of shielding ailing ousted
President Hosni Mubarak.

As the clamour for purge of Mubarak and remnants of
his former regime grew, Mubarak, who is under detention in a
hospital, regained consciousness after lapsing into a coma, a
top hospital official said.

The 83-year-old ex-ruler, whose trial opens for
corruption and murder on August 3, had slipped into a coma
yesterday at Sharm el-Sheikh hospital. A conviction could
carry the death penalty and protestors fear that the lawyers
may be using his health problem as a ruse to win amnesty.

State TV and media dubbed the new lineup as
"revolutionary cabinet" as most of the ministers were
newcomers, clearly with no ties to the Mubarak era.

But the rejig failed to assuage thousands of
protestors, who have returned to Cairo`s iconic Tahrir Square,
who charged that "the real power-brokers were still generals
of Mubarak."

They said they will not budge from the sit-in till
their main demands of ending military trials of civilians and
improved minimum wage were conceded.

The most prominent of the ministers purged included
antiquities chief Zahi Hawass, who has been for decades the
global face of Egypt. His downfall came as he was considered
too close to the erstwhile first family.

The axe also fell on Culture Minister Farouq Hosni and
Finance Minister Samir Radwan.

The Egyptian Prime Minister also named new ministers
for Transport, Military Production, Higher Education and
Communication.

Sharaf had accepted the resignation of Foreign
Minister on Saturday and named a new face, Mohammad Kamal
Omar, once Egypt`s ambassador to Saudi Arabia as the new chief
diplomat.

The mushrooming protests, local media reports said
indicated growing tension between the people and the military.
For the first time, a senior military official, who visited
the protest sit-in, was heckled by the protestors.

PTI

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